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excel – Count unique string variants

Posted by: admin May 14, 2020 Leave a comment


There could be quite a simple solution to this, but I am trying to find the number of times a unique variant (i.e. non-duplicates) of a string appears in a column. However this string is only part of the text contained in a cell, and not the entire cell. To illustrate:


I would like to find how many unique instances there are of a string that contains “EuropeSpain”. So using this example, I would find that a variant of “EuropeSpain” appears only twice (given that the second instance of “EuropeSpainMadrid” is a duplicate).

A solution to this is to use pivots to summarise the data and remove duplicated; however given that my underlying dataset changes often this would require manual adjustments and corrections. I would therefore like to avoid adding any intermediate steps (i.e. PivotTables, other data sets etc) between my data and the counts.

UPDATE: I now understand to use wildcards to solve the first part of my question (counting the occurrences of “EuropeSpain”), however I am not yet clear on the second part of my question (how to find the number of unique occurrences).

Is there a formula or VBA code that could do this?

How to&Answers:

Using wildcards:


enter image description here


For without VBA but with some versatility, I suggest with Text in ColumnA (labelled), ColumnB labelled Flag and EuropeSpain in C1:


in B2 copied down.

Then pivot A:B with Flag for FILTERS (and 1 selected), Text for ROWS and Count of Text for Sigma VALUES.

Apply Distinct Values if required (and available!), alternatively a formula of the kind:

=MATCH("Grand Total",E:E)-4

would count uniques.